In 1995, several women friends fell into deep conversation about what was happening, and not happening, in politics…
Become a Member
It’s simple and easy as a few clicks!
…and it was their perception that they did not see an effective presence of the Democratic Party in Kern County. They decided that this was a situation that needed changing and they would work to change it! This was the beginning of the organization originally named the Democratic Women of South San Joaquin Valley, now officially called the Democratic Women of Kern.
Since that time, this organization has developed a core group of committed women, (and men) who participate in activities that support the local Democratic Party and its principles. DWK works in cooperation with the Kern County Democratic Central Committee, sponsors events to highlight local Democratic candidates and assists wherever they can by working to register voters, provide phone banking, walking and working for positive change in our community. We continue to provide a platform where guest speakers address relevant issues of the current political climate and where we can come together as Democrats and as women to educate and support each other. We celebrate over 20 years of political activism and we are still fighting the good fight.
We invite you to join us.
The founders of Democratic Women of Kern
Katy Lingo, Marie Vasili & Renee Westa-Lusk
Meet Our Board
My name is Flor Olvera. I’m a small-town native to immigrant parents who exemplified a passion for living life to its fullest potential. I’m a career- and community-driven Latina motivated through my daughter to make exemplary change to our environments as women and men deserving of human rights of whom lead lives of choices, not circumstances. Leading by example is a life motto of mine, and I find enjoyment in motivating others to do the same.
A Note From the President
Democratic Women of Kern is an organization founded over 35 years ago and dedicated to pursuing Democratic values, and human issues, with an emphasis on women’s issues. The organization is devoted to educating women and men on ways they can make their voices heard, both politically and through public service.
Human trafficking, health care, education, homelessness and senior Issues are only some of the areas we address as we serve the community. Solutions require that government and citizens work together for the common good. As Democrats, we support our Democratic candidates and representatives who work to address these issues through action and legislation.
DWK welcomes all genders. Together, we advocate for the voiceless, the marginalized and all the hardworking people striving for the American dream. We want to assure that every voice is heard, from the ballot box to the halls of government. Our members support and register voters, contribute to foster youth served by the Dream Center and women reconstructing their lives at Casa Esparanza, engage in voter outreach, and seek to serve our community in many different ways. During the early days of Covid-19, our organization sewed and distributed over 1,000 masks. The needs of our community are varied. Democratic Women of Kern is committed to making a difference and making our community better. There is a place for you here.
Come join us!
Runa has lived in Bakersfield for 27 years. Around the 2016 election she realized that she no longer had the luxury of staying uninvolved with politics; so, after she graduated from CSUB in 2018, she joined the Democratic Women of Kern. She currently works as a content creator and ghost writer, and enjoys supporting and campaigning for politicians at the grass roots level.
Meghan was born and raised in Bakersfield where she found her passion for Democratic politics and advocacy through the We The People program at Centennial High School which ultimately pushed her to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from CSU Fullerton. At Cal State Fullerton, Meghan led campus civic engagement efforts that assisted in the 32.6% spike in student voter turnout during the 2018 midterm elections. After graduating, Meghan worked as a Field Organizer for former Congressman Gil Cisneros, leading the campaign’s postcard, poll monitoring and ballot curing programs. Meghan eventually moved back to Bakersfield to assist with TJ Cox’s ballot curing program. She is eager to get more active in the community and give back to the town that raised her by engaging more Democrats locally.
John is a high school mathematics teacher at Valley Oaks Charter school. He serves as a site representative and on the bargaining committee for his local teacher union. He also recently worked as the finance chair for his partner’s successful school board election. John loves board games, math, unicorns, and the color blue.
Elise is a lifelong Democrat, fueled by her immigrant father’s first exposure to American Democracy and JFK, she had always believed that voting in every single election was the best and most she could do as a U.S. Citizen, but after November 8, 2016, she needed to do more. She reached out to and became involved with as many groups and people across Kern County as she could. She discovered and joined DWK in January 2017 because she wanted to be a part of a group of strong, independent, smart, positive, Democratic people who were working for a change.
Robin Fernandez, is an easy going 61 year old female. She has worked in a variety of fields and levels of Accounting for about 40 years. She started working with the Salvation Army, moved on to a couple of supermarkets, and ended up with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Due to the results of the November 2016 Elections, she was moved to take action. The search for ways to make a difference took her to the Woman’s March in LA, Indivisible meetings, Democratic Office of Kern and the Democratic Woman of Kern. The DWK has proven to provide information for many of those venues and feed her soul.
Member at Large
Charlotte O’Brien is a California native, and a lifelong Democrat, who has moved over thirty times, most recently to Bakersfield in late 2021. She joined the DWK in March 2022.
Currently, she consults on a voluntary basis to The Rona Barrett Foundation in Santa Barbara County. She met the iconic entertainment journalist in 2013 to help her launch the Golden Inn & Village in Santa Ynez, the area’s first affordable housing units for low-income seniors and veterans over 62. Prior to that, she was the Manager of the California Strawberry Festival in Oxnard, which was her introduction to nonprofit organizations.
She received her BA in Film in 1980, and MFA in 1982 from UCLA.
Having worked in a variety of industries since 1968 gives her a depth and breadth of experience and expertise to draw on whenever and wherever it can help to make a difference.
Member at Large
I am a data analyst specializing in public health, women’s rights, and gun safety. I am also a proud mother of two college daughters, and an active Air Force son. I am dedicated to fighting climate change, women’s rights, activating voters, and preserving the components that make our pluralist democracy great.
Rosann Wattonville taught middle school for 39 years and retired in 2019. During her time as a science teacher she organized and lead a civic minded Roots and Shoots Service club for her students which emphasized caring for animals, humans, and the environment. Rosann has been involved with the Democratic party helping in many elections and is excited to be a part of DWK’s leadership team